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Health Alert: Eat Red Meat and Drink Red Wine

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New York City's super-size soda ban, set to go into effect Tuesday, has been halted by a judge.

That means you'll still be able to load up on sugary drinks at the movie theater today. Although the city says it will appeal the ruling, so this hard fought victory for soft drink liberty may be short lived.

To be honest, I haven't had more than a couple of ounces of a soft drink in years. It's just not my thing. And I do think that consuming too much sweetened beverages is unhealthy.

The real good news on the health front is this: As it turns out you've been doing it right all along.

And by doing it right I mean that you are eating red meat and drinking plenty of red wine.

Let's start with wine, as one does. Here's the science journal Nature:

The discovery that a compound in red wine may provide a healthier and longer life had guaranteed popular appeal, but the suggestion has been attacked from all sides. One such skirmish—a debate about the hypothesized benefits of one particular compound—may now be resolved.

In Science this week, researchers show that the compound, called resveratrol, acts directly on a protein that has been linked to cell metabolism and inflammatory diseases.

"This will be a major step forward for the field," says David Sinclair, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and lead author of the study. "The controversy has no doubt scared people off from studying these molecules."

Meanwhile, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has published a study showing that the saturated fat you consume when eating red meat isn't associated with all that nasty stuff you think about when you hear "saturated fat." Instead, the kind of fat you get in a steak is actually associated with health benefits: lower cholesterol and a reduction in other risk factors for heart disease.

The Daily Mail explains:

Saturated fat has become public enemy number one for heart health, the one food type guaranteed to clog arteries and raise the risk of a heart attack.

But emerging evidence suggests not all saturated fat should be tarred with the same brush—one type of saturated fat, known as stearic acid, may actually protect the heart against disease.

Stearic acid, which is found in beef and pork, skinless chicken, olive oil, cheese, chocolate and milk, is one of many saturated fatty acids found in food. Others include lauric, myristic and palmitic acids.

However, unlike other saturated fatty acids, repeated studies have shown stearic acid has no adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Indeed, it appears to be beneficial—suggesting that red meat and chocolate are not the heart-health disaster zones we assume they are.

When one study published in a recent edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that eating lean beef on a daily basis improved cholesterol levels, it was the stearic acid in the meat that was said to be responsible for the positive changes.

This is not exactly surprising. We've had evidence for a long time that expert opinion is very, very wrong about health and diet. Just look around you. After decades of official campaigns to promote "healthier" eating, after billions made by fitness companies, do people look much healthier to you?

Follow me on Twitter @Carney

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